Catherine Traicos

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Catherine Traicos


Catherine Traicos has come a long way since her days of crippling shyness where the singer-songwriter thought she’s cry from merely being in conversation.

Catherine Traicos has come a long way since her days of crippling shyness where the singer-songwriter thought she’s cry from merely being in conversation. On the eve of the release of her debut album The Love Inside , the Zimbabwe-born artist says she’s letting go of her fears and learning self-acceptance.

“I don’t want to make it sound wanky or clichéd,” she laughs. “But the album is very much about the theme of self-acceptance. It’s also about relationships with other people. It deals with the subject of other people wanting you to be a certain way and you having to fight that and realising that you have to be yourself. It’s about finding yourself and accepting that.”

For Traicos, this concept has been something of a struggle up to this point. Having moved to Perth from her home country of Zimbabwe in 1998, the singer says there is a sense of guilt in particular that she has constantly had to deal with, and continues to do so to this day. Her only form of escape being immersing herself in painting and music, Traicos says she has carried a heavy weight on her shoulders for quite some time.

“I only started writing music when I moved to Australia,” she recalls. “When I was in Zimbabwe, the school there was very strict and it messed with my mind a lot – I’m still getting over that. Every now and then little things crop up that remind me of a situation at school, or I’ll see a cop and I’d panic if I’m wearing the right clothes or if I might get in trouble for something. I’ve been constantly paranoid and on-guard, even though moving to Australia was awesome.

“Zimbabwe has a huge population who have nothing and very few opportunities in terms of education, whereas Australia is completely different. I like how there is equality in society, that was lovely for a change.”

And while Traicos has enjoyed her new home for the past 13 years, she admits that she hasn’t been able to put to rest her internal issues caused by growing up in Zimbabwe. In fact, at one point she was so consumed with her former country that she developed feelings of guilt over ever leaving in the first place.

“I started reading about what was going on back in Zimbabwe,” she admits. “And I just had this crisis of incredible guilt! I started feeling like I’d betrayed them by leaving and it was just horrible. It was at that time that I also really started closing myself off from people and painting a lot and listening to music. I was experiencing incredible guilt and I had to get away from it. It was so bad that I was painting Zimbabwe!

“It was an inner conflict because I felt I had abandoned my country but at the same time I no longer felt like it was my country. It was a very confusing phase of my life.”

Traicos explains that soon she went from merely listening to music as inspiration for her painting, to listening to music for inspiration for her own songwriting. Then one day she picked up the guitar and her whole world changed…

“Now I’ve even got a band – since July last year!” she enthuses. “I’m constantly surprised that they even show up at rehearsal! Every time I see them, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, they actually came back!’” she laughs. “My band is awesome, I am so lucky to have them. I’m also really grateful to have worked with Paul McKercher (producer) because he is such a sweetheart! I’ve been studying audio engineering and Paul came to lecture us a few times. I really wanted him to work on my album because he’s just fantastic, so I asked him if I could email him some tracks. He said ‘sure’, but he also warned me that he only works on stuff he likes and not to take it to heart if he doesn’t end up doing it.

“But he listened to my songs and said it was awesome and he’s been the most dedicated producer ever! He even came into our rehearsals before we went into the studio, just to see what we were doing and to give us some suggestions!”

According to Traicos, it’s the album’s new single Beg For Love that’s served as a true collaborative effort between all involved. Inspired equally by a form of Tibetan meditation Traicos has taken to practicing, as well as a particularly difficult relationship the singer has endured, Beg For Love sees her enter much poppier territories than she previously had.

“We just jammed through it for fun as a band and we thought what came out as a result was amazing,” says Traicos. “I was surprised that we actually made a pop song! This album is also a bit different to what I’ve done because it’s a lot more cryptic lyrically and not as literal. I find it much more difficult to express myself to people I know rather than strangers, because when the people I know hear the songs they’re like, ‘Oh my god, Catherine is totally fucking crazy, she can’t get over it!’”

CATHERINE TRAICOS brings her Beg For Love tour to Melbourne at The Empress Hotel on Saturday March 5 with Simone & Girlfunkle and The Marlon Winterbourne Movement, and to Pure Pop Records on Sunday March 6. Beg For Love is the first single from her forthcoming album The Love Inside .